Tarkwa mine begins transition to contract mining
Accra, 8 March 2018: Gold Fields Ghana Limited (GFGL) has formally begun the transition from owner mining to contract mining at its Tarkwa gold mine. This follows a decision by the Accra High Court on 2 March 2018, dismissing an injunction application by the Ghana Mine Workers’ Union’s (GMWU) which sought to restrain the Company from issuing severance letters to employees who will be affected by the contract mining operation.
Subsequent to the Court’s ruling, the majority of the employees at the mining and equipment maintenance departments at Tarkwa have signed their severance letters, an exercise that was carried out peacefully and orderly.
About 1,850 employees in total are to be affected by the transition to contract mining. Of these, 1,300 employees have already signed their severance agreement letters, with the remainder scheduled to commence the process over the next couple of weeks.
As per an agreement between GFGL and the contractors, about 80 – 85 per cent of these employees will be re-engaged by the contractors, under fair and equitable remuneration terms. As part of their severance package from GFGL these employees will also benefit from three months’ gross salary for every year that they worked.
To support the implementation of this re-engagement agreement, and also to ensure a smooth transition, GFGL has offered interim fixed-term contracts to the affected workers, during which period they will participate in the ongoing interviews and other employment processes with the new contractors.
|The transition process being explained to employees on the evening shift||The transition process being explained to a section of the employees on the mine|
Under the contract mining model, the mining and equipment maintenance activities at Tarkwa will be managed by two contractors, both of whom are fully-owned Ghanaian entities. GFGL will continue to directly manage the other aspects of the business, including exploration and processing.
GFGL’s adoption of the contract mining model allows for the sustainability of the Tarkwa operations through investment in exploration and potential extension of the life of the mine, which will have significant benefits for communities, employees, investors, as well as the Government of Ghana.
At the initial stage of the severance-letters-signing-exercise, some security personnel were deployed at the mine’s main access gate to protect employees from outsiders and a small minority of staff members who are opposed to the contract mining model and who had attempted to forcibly disrupt the process. It is important to note that the security personnel were not in the vicinity of the offices where employees signed the documents and had no meaningful contact with the employees.
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